NYC DRAG QUEEN OF THE WEEK – ZALIKA PARSONS
There is no shortage of drag queens in NYC. You can’t throw a rock without hitting some twink in a dress thinking he’s got what it takes to shantay down the runway just because he’s seen every season of Ru Paul’s Drag Race while practicing YouTube makeup tutorials. There’s a difference, though, between learning how to just paint your face and turning that face into a work of fucking art. This weekly series highlights the queens who stand out from the crowd and rock those heels til they bleed.
Meet Zalika Parsons.
How would you describe your look?
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Modern day Divine mixed with a reincarnated Marilyn Monroe, trying to keep up with society’s standards of beauty while failing miserably.
You show off your body hair, which was once taboo in the drag community. Do you feel pressure to look a certain way?
No. As a person I never want to conform to anyone else’s standards.
What kind of reactions do you get from other drag queens?
It’s very mixed. The crowd generally loves it, but certain queens are stuck in their ways and they just look at me like “Oh my god”. In Long Island I did a charity benefit for Aids Walk and this one girl, who was a head-to-toe pageant queen, looked me dead in the face and goes “This is amazing, I don’t know what kind of crack you’re on but keep doing it.”
There are biological women and trans women doing drag now. What do you think defines drag in 2018?
Nothing defines anything anymore. As long as you have the heart and you want to do it, go for it.
What’s been your best night in drag?
That would have to be when I won Miss Coney Island Queen of Drag in 2015. My entire family was there. It was one of those nights where everything just went right. I still, to this day, cannot believe I won.
Do you aspire to be on Ru Paul’s Drag Race?
Never. Drag Race isn’t a show for me. I commend the people who go on it, but I don’t see it in my future. I’m more of a Dragula person. It’s like if Fear Factor and America’s Next Top Model had a child. I’m more into that ‘punk rock I don’t give a fuck’ attitude. For Drag Race you need to go for a certain mold and a certain aesthetic and I don’t think I could ever do that. I can’t sell any part of my soul to just be famous, that’s not why I started doing drag.
You certainly have a different definition of what constitutes drag compared to Ru Paul.
I can’t support some of the things that Ru Paul has said. He’s apologized recently for it but the things he said about trans women not being on Drag Race and how it would be cheating if they auditioned is just gross and disgusting considering he was one of the first genderfuck performers we ever had and was fighting so hard for queer rights. I just think the money caught up with him.
What does your family think of you doing drag?
My dad loves it because he grew up in the CBGG scene so it’s cool to him. My mom used to hate it. She thought it was a sexual fetish, but I explained it was more like a clown at a circus and now she gets it.
Is it expensive to be a drag queen?
Honey, it’s expensive to breathe now let alone put on eyeliner. It’s one of the most expensive hobbies I think you can have.